Menopausal Symptoms

  • Debra L. Barton Email author
  • Aditya Bardia
  • Charles Loprinzi
Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D)


Menopause is considered to be a major turning point in a women's life. It is accompanied by a variety of physical and psychological changes that can significantly impair one's quality of life. Menopausal symptoms among cancer survivors often occur at an earlier age, and can be more frequent, last longer, and be more severe than are seen in women experiencing natural menopause. A recent NIH state of the science report listed four symptoms as strongly associated with menopause: hot flashes with/without night sweats, osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, and insomnia. Other symptoms variably associated with menopause include urinary incontinence, mood swings, irritability, and cognitive impairment.

Traditionally, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (estrogen and progesterone) has been the mainstay of therapy for menopausal symptoms. However, recent trials have raised concerns about risks of breast cancer, thrombosis, stroke, and cardiovascular mortality. Various novel nonhormonal therapeutic options have emerged for the management of menopausal symptoms. Newer antidepressants appear to be efficacious in reducing hot flashes. Bisphosphonates, along with calcium and vitamin D, remain the front line therapy for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, but long-term efficacy has not been established. Vaginal dryness responds well to local estrogens and vaginal lubricants. There is evidence that new nonbenzodiazepines have efficacy in treating insomnia. However, despite progress in effective nonhormonal therapies, menopausal symptoms remain a major cause of morbidity among cancer survivors and compassionate management of individual symptoms is crucial.

Key Words:

Menopause Cancer survivors Hot flash Osteoporosis Vaginal dryness Insomnia 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debra L. Barton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aditya Bardia
  • Charles Loprinzi
  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyMayo Clinic Cancer CenterRochesterUSA

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